Admittedly, Schleimaale are the most beautiful animals. They are reminiscent of pink tubing. During the day, they remain mostly buried in the sea floor and only come out at night. Instead of the scales you are wrapped in a thick layer of mucus. Eyes, a jaw or teeth, you don’t have, instead tear it with a kind of horn is occupied, the tongue pieces of meat from their prey. An enemy appears, you can turn the water around you lightning fast in a mucus cloud that clogs the gills of the opponent.

This way of life is so successful that the animals have changed in the last year, million hardly. Ammonites, dinosaurs, Giant sloths: The Schleimaale have all survived. And that is exactly what makes animals so interesting to zoologists, because they are considered to be the origin of the Vertebrates. Schleimaale have already a skeleton-like structure, this is limited to only a few cartilaginous structures.


is the ancestor of all vertebrates Was a Hagfish?

researchers arguing for decades, passionate about it, which of course are due to the hagfish in the pedigree of the animals. The a, mainly based on fossil finds, keep them for a kind of prototype of the vertebrate animals. This would mean that all fish and aquatic animals – including human beings – have had a common ancestor, which roughly looked like a Hagfish.

The others argue, Schleimaale be so strange that you would have to get a fork in the family tree of the animals. The researchers relied primarily on DNA analysis, the Schleimaale rather in a series of nine eyes. Nine eyes are also part of the original vertebrates, and have no jaw. (The Evolution of the jaw is a fascinating story, read more here.) The common ancestor of the Vertebrates would have looked more like a fish.

jaw loose vertebrate animals in a SideShow of Evolution

Now researchers have discovered the University of Chicago, a 100-million-year-old Fossil that could clarify this issue, they report in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

The Fund is extremely rare. Normally, the soft Schleimaale. In the case of the investigated specimen residues of the mucus layer is found. This contained a lot of Keratin, a substance from the finger-nails.

“We now have a Fossil that dates back to the original Blueprint for Schleimaale to 100 million years,” says researcher Tetsuto Miyashita. Now there is also fossil evidence that the structure of the animals was similar to millions of years ago, rather to the blood-sucking lampreys.

The researchers assume, therefore, that the round-mouths developed their eel-like physique and their unusual diet, as they had been separated from the family tree of the vertebrates. So that our great-great-great Ancestor would not be a slimy Urtier, but a fish.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.